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TIMERS TO TRY: Independent watchmakers’ dive watches

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The past few years have seen dive watches edge out chronographs as the de facto all-purpose, go-anywhere, sports watch – including for those who, relatively speaking, go nowhere.

It’s not just the robustness of watches ostensibly built for tough situations: in dressed down times, the colour and character inherent to dive watch designs has made them move centre stage, along with a sense of rugged history that’s easily as evocative as the automotive glam associated with chronographs, and arguably more fashionable.

Amid the rise of the all-conquering desk diver, then, here’s a trio of specialist dive watches that really mean business.

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Delma Blue Shark III Azores
$2,300

For local visitors to WatchPro Salon, Delma may be a real discovery: a long-standing, family-owned watch company producing handsome, terrifically capable tool watches at a great value point (look out for its latest Commander aviation pieces too).

Equipped with a helium escape valve and a depth-rating of 4000 metres, the third gen of Delma’s Blue Shark dive series is an absolute beast by any standards, but a rather handsome one too.

There are 11 versions to choose from so far, with 500 watches made for each iteration – proceeds from the latest, the ‘Azores’ edition, support the Megalodon Project shark conservation initiative.

DOXA Sub600 T Pacific
$2,100

With its famous connection to Jacques-Yves Cousteau, whose orange-dialled Sub became familiar to millions of viewers of The Undersea World, DOXA is one of the most revered and distinct names in historic dive watches, that’s been rising back to the surface of late with the kind of dizzying speed that would give anyone the bends.

The Sub600 T Pacific brings back a model first seen in a less-fashionable dive watch era, the 1980s – and for the uninitiated, it’s something of a revelation.

The sturdy, tonneau-shaped titanium case, offset crown and bold dial features carry plenty of quirk, while the marine blue color code will be as on point with some lively Nike Dunks as it with a wetsuit in the tropics.

Make no mistake though, this is a mean diving machine, with a 600 meter depth rating.

Marathon Arctic Edition Medium Diver’s Automatic (MSAR)
$1,050

Marathon is a determinedly no-nonsense watch company.

Based in Canada, its long-term business has been built around supplying redoubtable timepieces to North American armed forces, staking its reputation on the reliability and functional utility of its watches, all of which are made in La Chaux-de-Fonds in Switzerland.

The Medium Diver’s Automatic has been designed for a very specific – and totally uncompromising – purpose: to furnish the wrists of search and rescue professionals; though made to civilian government military specifications, it’s been widely worn by combat troops too.

With a depth-rating of 300 meters, it uses tritium gas tubes to generate powerful low light visibility; and at 36mm across, delivers one of the smaller hardcore dive watches available.

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